How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Michael J, Esq. Your Own Question

Michael J, Esq.
Michael J, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 2949
Experience:  Licensed Missisippi Attorney; Criminal Law, Family Law, Personal Injury, and Civil Defense
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Michael J, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I just got caught shoplifting. I know it was stupid and im

Customer Question

I just got caught shoplifting. I know it was stupid and i'm really scared about what's going to happen. I reacently turned 20, less then a month ago. This is my first offense with anything. I have a court date 2 weeks from now. I dont know what to do, or how to plea or anything. I'm about to be a sophmore at a univeristy and I'm a good student, never got in troube for anything.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Michael J, Esq. :

Hello - Thank you for contacting JustAnswer. My name is Michael; I look forward to helping you with your criminal problem today.

Michael J, Esq. :

You have been charged with misdemeanor theft or "shoplifting". The maximum penalty for something like this would be around 1 year in uail, restitution, and a fine and court costs. However, if this is your first offense, you'll most likely be given probation and will not have to do any jail time. You can talk to the prosecutor about your history and he/she should be able to help you out with getting this taken care of with minimal punishment.

Customer :

where/how can i talk to the prosecutor

Michael J, Esq. :

You would speak to them when you go for your court date.

Customer :

how do i know who my prosecutor is?

Customer :

also, if would it be possible to change the court date?

Michael J, Esq. :

You will know. They will be the person at the court who is in charge of the case. You can ask for a continuance but the court does not have to grant it.

Customer :

what is a continuance?

Michael J, Esq. :

Asking for the court date to happen at a later time.

Customer :

i was hoping for an earlier time

Michael J, Esq. :

No, you won't be able to make it earlier.

Customer :

okay, and what do i do when i go into court?

Michael J, Esq. :

You would go and plead guilty to the shoplifting and ask the prosecutor in return for your guilty plea, since it was your first offense, to give you probation and a fine.

Customer :

i googled a bit, and it says to plea not guilty to get minimum charges and all, but it also says to not get more court dates to plea guilty

Customer :

it also said i could say i consent r something like that

Michael J, Esq. :

There is a lot of information on Google. I'm here to help you with the correct information. If you want to fight the case, you can plead not guilty and have your trial. If you do that, you'll get a harsher sentence if you get found guilty. If you plead guilty, you can most likely work out something where you don't get any jail time.

Customer :

i know there is, and that's why i'm here trying to get actual information. i really just don't know what to do, and I'm too scared to think straight, i can barely get a hold of myself right now, is it bad if i can't get a hold of myself in court? i know i most likely won't be able to

Michael J, Esq. :

You need to calm down. This is a run of the mill crime and is something that the State is not going to try to hit you hard on. Trust me - if you want to get this over with and take responsibility for it - you can plead guilty, talk to the prosecutor and get probation.

Michael J, Esq. :

It's not a big deal and you will be able to handle it fine.

Customer :

would this ever get off my record?

Michael J, Esq. :

You could have it expunged possibly sometime down the line, but it depends on the State you are in. Some states won't allow you to expunge a crime unless you have entered into a diversion program, which basically means that you were not found guilty of the crime. You can ask the Prosecutor about any diversion programs for first time offenders and see if that is an option.

Customer :

will i be talking to the prosecutor in front of the judge or will it just be a private thing?

Michael J, Esq. :

Most likely he will take you aside.

Customer :

do you know how long it could possibly take?

Customer :

if i plead guilty and no other issues come up

Michael J, Esq. :

It would take place on the day of your hearing.

Customer :

hour wise what is the average time it would take?

Michael J, Esq. :

I would have no idea, that would depend on how many cases are set for the day. Once your case is called, it will only take a couple of minutes to plea and be sentenced.

Customer :

okay, thank you very much

Michael J, Esq. :

No problem!

Michael J, Esq. :

If I can answer anything further, let me know. Remember, I'm here to help and your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you don't have any questions and you valued my time, I'd ask you to consider rating me positively.

Take care,

Michael

Expert:  Michael J, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Our chat has ended, but you can still continue to ask me questions here until you are satisfied with your answer. Come back to this page to view our conversation and any other new information.

What happens now?

If you haven’t already done so, please rate your answer above. Or, you can reply to me using the box below.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
< Last | Next >
  • Your Expert advise has provided insight on a difficult situation. Thank you so much for the prompt response. I will definitely recommend your website to my friends. Norma Pensacola, FL
  • Mr. Kaplun clearly had an exceptional understanding of the issue and was able to explain it concisely. I would recommend JustAnswer to anyone. Great service that lives up to its promises! Gary B. Edmond, OK
  • My Expert was fast and seemed to have the answer to my taser question at the tips of her fingers. Communication was excellent. I left feeling confident in her answer. Eric Redwood City, CA
  • I am very pleased with JustAnswer as a place to go for divorce or criminal law knowledge and insight. Michael Wichita, KS
  • PaulMJD helped me with questions I had regarding an urgent legal matter. His answers were excellent. Three H. Houston, TX
  • Anne was extremely helpful. Her information put me in the right direction for action that kept me legal, possible saving me a ton of money in the future. Thank you again, Anne!! Elaine Atlanta, GA
  • It worked great. I had the facts and I presented them to my ex-landlord and she folded and returned my deposit. The 50 bucks I spent with you solved my problem. Tony Apopka, FL
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/retiredlawyer/2012-6-6_19326_franL.64x64.jpg Fran L.'s Avatar

    Fran L.

    JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor

    Satisfied Customers:

    8061
    18 yrs of NYC public defense. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RA/ratioscripta/2012-6-13_2955_foto3.64x64.jpg Ely's Avatar

    Ely

    Counselor at Law

    Satisfied Customers:

    2079
    Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/NA/nathanmoorelaw/2011-5-31_21375_headshotbig.64x64.jpg Nate's Avatar

    Nate

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1625
    Over 10 years of criminal defense practice.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/LA/LawTalk/2012-6-6_17379_LawTalk.64x64.JPG LawTalk's Avatar

    LawTalk

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1434
    30 years legal experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PH/philip.simmons/2012-6-7_161915_BIGPhilipSimmons.64x64.jpg P. Simmons's Avatar

    P. Simmons

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1418
    16 yrs. of experience including criminal law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/marshadjd/2009-6-1_194320_marshajd.jpg Marsha411JD's Avatar

    Marsha411JD

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1380
    Licensed attorney with 27 yrs. exp. in criminal law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RO/RobertJDFL/2012-6-6_175352_7538220120606.64x64.jpg RobertJDFL's Avatar

    RobertJDFL

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    1300
    Experienced in multiple areas of the law.